What does "Digital Cable Ready" (or "DCR") mean?
Today, a television designated "Digital Cable Ready" (or "DCR") is able, when used in conjunction with a separate CableCARD™ module, to receive one-way digital cable signals — with full image quality — without the need for a traditional cable set-top box.
Are "Digital Cable Ready" and "integrated digital tuner" the same thing?
No. Although many TVs today will offer one or both of these features, it is important to know that they allow access to different forms of digital content:
What is a CableCARD?
- "Digital Cable Ready" means the set has built-in technology that, when combined with a CableCARD, allows reception of encrypted digital programming from the cable company without the need for a set-top box.
- An "integrated digital tuner," when combined with a sufficiently sized and properly positioned antenna, allows reception of unencrypted digital signals provided by local "over-the-air" broadcasters.
A CableCARD is a separate module which, once inserted into the corresponding slot on a Digital Cable Ready TV, connected to the incoming coaxial cable, and properly activated by the cable company, enables the delivery of one-way digital audio/video content from the local cable operator to the TV. Base CableCARD functionality includes service authorization, signal demodulation, billing authentication and copy protection.
What does "one-way" digital-cable-ready mean?
The current "plug-and-play" agreement between the cable industry and TV manufacturers provides for unidirectional, or "one-way" connectivity, meaning that a Digital Cable Ready TV is able to receive signals from the cable operator, but it cannot send signals, like a two-way digital cable set-top box can, to the cable operator to request access to additional services like video-on-demand.
What are the pros and cons of one-way Digital Cable Ready?
- Receive all standard and high-definition digital cable signals without the need of a separate cable set-top box.
- Simplify setup and connections to other audio/video devices.
- Simplify TV operation through one remote and consistent user-interface.
How do I get a CableCARD to go with my new Digital Cable Ready TV?
- Without the cable set-top box, you lose access to two-way services from your cable operator like video-on-demand, enhanced parental controls and, in many cases, an interactive programming guide.
- You still have to lease the CableCARD from the cable operator for a nominal monthly fee (prices vary by cable operator).
Beginning July 1, 2004, nearly every local cable operator is required by the federal government to have cards available for consumers. Customers, regardless of whether they are new or current digital cable subscribers, must call the cable company to arrange delivery and installation of the CableCARD. Prices, programs, and installation timelines vary by cable operator.
Will one CableCARD work in more than one TV?
No. After your CableCARD device is installed and activated by a cable field technician, it is "bound" to the original Digital Cable Ready TV in which it was installed. In order for your CableCARD to operate properly in another Digital Cable Ready device, the CableCARD has to be re-installed in the new device by a field technician.
Can I take my CableCARD with me when I move to another city?
No. Your existing CableCARD must be returned to your local cable company prior to your move. Once you arrive in your new city, you must call the local cable operator to arrange delivery and installation of a new card.
Why couldn't I make a DVD copy of a program I watched on my Digital Cable Ready TV?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has standards for copy protection of digital content. This mandate allows programmers, through copy protection directives, to determine which programming the end consumer can or cannot copy digitally. Copy protection directives may be "copy never," "copy once," "no more copies" or "copy freely." If you are unable to make a digital copy of a program that you watched on your Digital Cable Ready TV, the programmer has applied a copy directive that blocks that particular content from being copied.
When will two-way Digital Cable Ready TVs be available?
It is not known exactly when a two-way agreement between TV manufacturers and the cable industry will be reached, or how long it would take to implement. There are significant obstacles yet to be overcome before two-way DCR becomes viable. Current estimates indicate it could be 3-5 years before two-way Digital Cable Ready products are available for sale to the public.